Ryan Lochte broke his own world record in the 200-meter individual medley Friday at the short-course world championships, and he celebrated by giving his medal to a boy in the crowd.
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"To see that smile on that little face means everything to me," Lochte said.
The Olympic star finished the eight laps in 1 minute, 49.63 seconds. Daiya Seto of Japan won the silver in 1:52.80, and Laszlo Cseh of Hungary won the bronze in 1:52.80.
Lochte set his earlier record of 1:50.08 at the last short-course championships — in Dubai in 2010, when the American won six gold medals and one silver. He has won four races so far in Istanbul. He captured five medals at the London Olympics, including two golds.
"Any time you break the world record, it’s amazing," Lochte said. "I swam my best time, of course. I wanted to do something that no one else did here. I didn’t know I was going that fast anyway."
After the awards ceremony, Lochte gave his medal to a fan, 9-year-old Arda Cakmak. Cakmak, the medal ribbon around his neck, showed off the prize to friends and photographers at the Sinan Erdem Arena.
"One of the main reasons for racing is because of my fans, so I always want to give something back," the swimmer said. "If I took the medal, it would end up in a sock drawer. If I give it to a fan, they’re going to treasure it. It will make their day or even their life."
This was Lochte’s fourth consecutive gold medal in the discipline, making him the second man to achieve that feat at the short-course championships. James Hickman of Britain won the 200 butterfly five times between 1997-2004.
Daniel Gyurta of Hungary dominated the 200-meter breaststroke in Istanbul, setting a competition record. Gyurta, who won gold in the event at the London Olympics, finished in 2 minutes and 1.35 seconds. Michael Jamieson of Britain, the Olympic silver medalist, again took silver, in 2:03.00. Viatcheslav Sinkevichof Russia was third in 2:03.08.
Akihiro Yamaguchi of Japan, the long-course world record-holder, finished fourth.
Gyurta set a long-course world record of 2:07.28 in the 200 breaststroke in London, but Yamaguchi erased it in 2:07.01 in September. Yamaguchi wasn’t selected for the Olympics. In Istanbul, he was the fastest swimmer in the semifinals.
Paul Biedermann of Germany won a second gold medal for Germany in the 400 freestyle, overtaking China’s Yun Hao with 50 meters to go and winning in 3:39.15. Hao took the silver in 3:39.48 and Mads Glaesner of Denmark got the bronze in 3:40.09.
Hao said the last turn didn’t go well and he didn’t realize Biedermann was gaining on him in the last leg.
"I was keeping an eye on the others, but when I touched the wall I thought I was first," Hao said. "I didn’t see him coming."
In the women’s 400 freestyle, Melanie Costa Schmid of Spain staged a similar acceleration in the final leg to get the gold in 4:01.08. Chloe Sutton of the U.S. won the silver in 4:01.20, and Lauren Boyle of New Zealand, who had dominated the first 350 meters, came third in 4:01.24. World record-holder Camille Muffat of France did not participate.
Chinese women won gold and silver in the 50 butterfly when Ying Lu touched the wall first in 25.14, and Liuyang Jiao was next in 25.23. Denmark’s Jeanette Ottesen took the bronze in 25.55.
"I’m so happy," Lu said. "The level of us three medalists is similar. I’m not better than the others. Perhaps I was able to pay attention to some little details a bit more than them."
Jiao said she was satisfied because the 50 butterfly is not her strongest event.
In other races, Denmark won its first medal at the short-course championships, a gold in the women’s 4×100 medley relay; Daryna Zevina of Ukraine was first in the 200 backstroke; Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu won gold, her third medal in Istanbul, with a championship record of 58.49 seconds in the 100 individual medley; Britta Steffen of Germany won the 100 freestyle; and Vladimir Morozov of Russia beat Olympic champion Florent Manaudou of France for the gold in the 50 freestyle in 20.55.